May 7, 1915, for Captain Turner was starting out to be a normal day passing through the waters. The ship was full of passengers, crew, and ammo. When the torpedo was fired at the Lusitania, everything turned chaotic. At first it was assumed that the torpedo had missed, but then we all heard the explosions. I was on A deck when I heard the cries of a torpedo coming. I saw the torpedo as it pass below the starboard rail. The explosion threw me off balanced, and debris was starting to fall. I ran up the stairway to get to the bridge. When I got to the bridge, I immediately began giving out instructions. I told the crew I wanted the engines “full astern” (Larson, 252). Then I told Quartermaster Hugh Johnson “to turn the ship hard toward the coast” (Larson, 252). If things get worse then, I think it will be best to beach the ship to lessen the chance of sinking. I asked Second Officer Percy Hefford to the ship’s spirit indicator, and he said “Fifteen degrees to starboat, sir” (Larson, 253). I gave orders to close the ship’s watertight doors and ordered that the lifeboats be lowered to the rails. I stepped out to see what was going on deck with the passengers and the crew. The deck was filling up with more and more passengers. All of the ship’s system were not working, and we already made a distress call. I knew the ship was not going to hold and would sink. I put on a life jacket and remained by position on the bridge. By 2:25 p.m., fifteen minutes since the torpedo had hit, water was starting to get on the ship. I told officer Johnston to leave and save himself. I decided to stay and remained on the bridged. We kept sending calls for help but have not heard back or seen any ship. Passengers were fighting to get into the lifeboats, and some of the lifeboats were to far to reach. Some of the passengers started jumping from the ship into the sea waters. I saw some that stayed on the ship due to fear. At around 2:36, the Lusitania has sunk.
Hypothermia was going to be a problem for those in the waters, especially the children. If they do not get any help then they could die. Passengers were trying to get into the lifeboats, but there was too many that they could not fit. Getting help from the Irish took a long time. It was already night time when the Flying Fish and the Bluebell came to rescue everyone. That next morning during my walk, I decide to go to a shop to get a new hat. I met with one of the survivors, Beatrice Williams, who took offense of me buying a hat. She was upset about losing everything. A reporter from the New York World did an interview with me but I was too affected by what had happened. The reporter told me about the number of American bodies that were recovered. I just could not control my emotions. There was 1,959 passengers and crew, but only 764 survived (Larson, 300). The news made it to the United States that the Lusitania had been attack. Many Americans were upset by this. The U.S. did not get involve the Great War yet. Many bodies were found ashore, and in other area. There were some bodies that were still missing in the sea.
A week after the disaster, the Admiralty put the blamed on me. Even thought what happened was an act of war. Before the Admiralty could pursue me, John J. Horgan said, “the responsibility fell to him because five of the Lusitania’s dead had been landed in his district” (Larson, 317). Horgan later called me to give my testimony. He praised me for my actions of remaining inside the ship and not abandoning it. On May 10, the jury made its decision “the submarine’s officers and crew and the emperor of Germany had committed “willful and wholesale murder” (Larson, 317). The Admiralty tried everything to stop me from testifying and to be put all the blame. President Wilson asked the Germans to make the necessary reparations, and to make sure a tragic event likes this does not happen in the future. This has seen to worked because the Germans pulled out all of their ships from the British waters. Back home in the U.S. many believed and protests that the Germans in the country were spies. President Wilson tried his best to keep the peace in the country. Woodrow Wilson won the reelection in 1916. The President thought that the war might finally come to an end when Germany agreed to discuss peace with Britain.
In March 1, 1917 it was announced that the British intercepted on a message made by German foreign secretary Arthur Zimmerman. They asked Mexico join forces with them against the United States and promised to help them recover the territories they lost in the past. President Wilson went to Congress to ask for a declaration of war. Back at home in the U.S. all of the factories were turned to war production. The selective service act was passed on May 1917. The men of the country were drafted. The government became more involve with public announcements. There were still movements happening like the prohibition movement. They wanted to bn alcohol. It wasn’t until spring of 1918 that the U.S. forces got involve in the war. President Wilson had also issued his fourteen points statement. The government had to start distributing birth control and protection to the soldiers because they would come back with diseases. The Sedition act was passed in 1918. It made it a crime to speak ill about the government. When the war finally ended, the Treaty of Versailles was created. Germany was punished, and they had to pay for all the damages. The league of nation was formed but Congress decided that the United States would not join.
Larson, Erik. Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania. Crown Publishing Group, 2015.
Foner, Eric. Give Me Liberty!: an American History. 5th ed., vol. 2, W.W. Norton & Company, 2017.